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By | 2010, Europe | No Comments

“Another summer day has come and gone away, in either Paris or Rome and I wanna go home…”

Well, truth be told, when I was in Paris and Rome I didn’t feel that way. I was quite happy to be where I was and it’s hard to believe that it ever happened.  It feels as if the things we did and saw, the different worlds we experienced never happened…like it was all a dream.  But it wasn’t, I really did travel around Europe for two months, with a group of people I wouldn’t necessarily have chosen on my own, though it was partly due to the various personalities that our group worked so well…I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

I have never seen so much art in my life, and I may not be able to visit another museum or gallery for a couple of months lol.  Oh, and thank you leaders…every time I go any where now can’t help but think “bus buddy and tent mate!” only to realize that neither my bus buddy or tent mate are here.

I’ve learned so much on this trip, about others, about myself…and I’m not really sure if I’ve even really broke the surface yet.  I’ve met people and seen places and things that I never could have dreamed of…and it was amazing to see how God worked in and through us throughout our travels and experiences. In many ways it’s hard to describe a trip like this (though I’m happy to show pictures and tell stories to any who would like)  I feel blessed to have been a part of it, and grateful to all those who worked so hard to make it a good trip.

So thank you, one and all…those on the trip, behind the scenes and those who were praying for us while we were gone.

now…if you’ll excuse me, I have a few more assignments to finish 🙂

God Bless

~Angela

Your Rop

By | 2010, Europe | No Comments

As someone who uses art as a means for contemplation (and often times, therapy), I would have to allow myself to be quite passive in order to not be affected by the art we’ve seen in Europe.

My favorite movement in art history is probably Impressionism, because of their creative innovations that break away from the rules and structure of art’s establishment. It is interesting to think how new worlds can open up once you bend the rules a little! Should art be given formulaic constraints? The Impressionists saw that art should roam free.

Aside from being inspired by great art and great minds, I am also impacted in other ways through our experiences. I have been shaken, as well. I will never forget walking through the Dachau concentration camp and suddenly feeling no sense of morality, losing any grasp of good and evil. Nietzsche was right, God is dead and everything is permissible;  my mind went to chaos. I then realized the spiritual element to this.  I realized that I was impacted so much precisely because of the inherent worth that exists in all of human kind, a type of value that is indeed God-given. When you enter a place where people have experienced suffering through extreme oppression, a place where their inherent value has been utterly rejected, you cannot leave without feeling something.

Our journey through Europe ends soon! And I will not leave it an unchanged man.

Joel S.

Germany and Onward!

By | 2010, Europe | No Comments

The trip is nearing its end and as it slowly creeps upon us I anticipate it more and more.  I have thoroughly enjoyed being on this trip but at the same time I await its end with a certain amount of excitement and anxiousness. We are currently in Belgium and have just completed our day trip to Bruges in which many of us enjoyed a tour of a local brewery.  Before arriving in Belgium we traveled from Paris, which was both an expensive and beautiful city. Prior to visiting Northern France we enjoyed staying in Zug Switzerland, which had a lovely lake to swim and cool down in.  Over all of the other countries I think that I was most fond of Germany. It was my favorite because of the people there.  I remember that they were very friendly and helpful whenever I stopped to talk with them.  Part of my positive impression of the German people was formed by our hosts in the castle where we stayed just outside of Dresden.  I also remember having a very friendly taxi driver who I spoke to on our way home from the soccer game we attended in the city of Dresden.

I also appreciated the architecture that we saw in Germany, such as the Glockenspiel and St. Michaels Church.  The Glockenspiel is a great example of German material culture.  It shows the German peoples’ love for art as well as music.  St. Michaels is also a prime example of material culture.  I was especially intrigued by the the statue of the archangel Michael defeating Satan on the facade of the church. During the Reformation it was viewed as St. Michael defeating the Protestants, as the majority of the people in the city at that time were Catholic.  The statue also reminded me of our myth course as it can be viewed as a mythological battle between Michael and Satan as well as the Protestants.  Overall, Munich was a great city for viewing the material culture of the German people.

Matt Caldwell

My responsibility

By | 2010, Europe | No Comments

Our history is a linear one – from our parents to us the history of mankind falls into our hands. Thus, understanding our culture, the culture of western civilization, becomes pertinent to us when the torch of civilization is passed down to us. Essentially, the epitome of humanity is the individual, thus the individual, through inter-personal interaction, determines, then defines what it is to be human. Travelling Europe gives to us the opportunity to witness the culture that was once changed, advanced, altered, and contributed to by individuals who had the power of will to assert their creative influence and ultimately, however grand or minute, they have changed the course of history. From the architects that designed the Eifel tower, to the eccentric painter who taught us to perceive the world as impressions, we study them all because it is our responsibility to do so. As equal sharers in humanity it falls to us to either improve what it means to be human, or degrade it. It is my responsibilty.

Aaron R.

Through the Veil, Toward Creativity.

By | 2010, Europe | No Comments

There is  some sort of tangible invisible force that compels countless people to engage with the life and work of Vincent Willem Van Gogh (1853-1890). I have felt it in varying amounts on this trip.  The strongest though, was when we were in Arles in the Provence region of southeastern France. Van Gogh arrived there from Paris in February 1888 and immediately fell in love with the light and color of the beautiful French countryside. He would go out in the  intense sun, the blustering wind, and the torrential rain trying to capture the landscape. Weather did not deter him because art was his religion. He said once in a letter to his brother Theo, “When I have a terrible need of — shall I say the word — religion. Then I go out and paint the stars.”

In Arles van Gogh created some of his most iconic pieces of artwork. Over his turbulent twelve month stay there he generated over 150 paintings and drawings. None of these original works are on display in Arles, but regardless of this the spirit of van Gogh can still be felt amidst the different monuments that he visited and painted within, and outside of the city.

Van Gogh painted things of great beauty. Not only landscapes with proud cypress trees and delicate poppies, but also places, objects and people that mainstream culture both of his day and ours would deem as ugly or unworthy of artistic representation. Like his predecessor Jean Francois Millet (a Realist painter) van Gogh saw a deep-seated goodness in the working class people and wanted to communicate that through his art. In many ways van Gogh was just as broken and destitute as the men, women and children he painted and drew. As such, it is easy for some people to write him off as a mentally unstable man who cut off his ear and happened to create some good art that we connect with. But with every artist we must proceed past the initial veil that we encounter in order to understand the complete story.

I feel like I have passed through that veil with van Gogh and with the other artists I have encountered on this trip so far. In doing so I have learned that all human beings have the desire to be creative in some way, and in creating they grasp some sense of meaning for themselves and perhaps for a greater community they are a part of.

The following is a poem I wrote during our transit day to Arles. I think it captures something of the spirit of van Gogh.

As They Watched

There is blood drenching the fields.
Crimson, stretched over the long grass.
We walk through it,
And fall to our knees,
And weep from our hearts.

As the cypresses watch.

Just as they watched Vincent,
In the scorching heat of the day.

Furiously,
Masterfully,
Painting.

Inhaling,
Ingesting,
Light.

Absorbing,
Tasting,
Color.

There is blood on our hands.
Crimson stains from the long, long grass.

We wash and we wash,
It will never come off.

We scrub and we scrub,
It will never come out.

Arles has marred us.
St. Remy has scarred us.
Auvers-Sur-Oise has murdered us.

But Art,
The Light,
And the Color,

Have redeemed us.

They have restored our spirits,
And yours as well,

VINCENT.

– David J. McCallum

Art, Art, Art

By | 2010, Europe | No Comments

So as we have been traveling through Europe thus far, we have seen hundreds and hundreds of amazing pieces of art.  Every museum that we go to is filled with some of the most brilliant, vibrant, and awe-inspiring pieces I have ever laid my eyes on. So much so, that I have begun to blow my way through every museum just looking out for the big names – the Michelangelo’s, the Raphael’s, the Leonardo’s, the Donatello’s – all the ninja turtles. I wonder why I do this, or why everyone who does not fancy themselves an art person does this. What makes these big pieces so much better and more worth seeing then all the lesser known paintings? Is it the artist behind the work or are the paintings themselves just that much better? My mind has been just so overwhelmed with art and brilliant images of the Renaissance, Baroque and the like that it has become hard to distinguish the good from the great.

Jonas

Tan Bodies Part II

By | 2010, Europe | No Comments

Another day, another magnificent cathedral, one more time I stumble over a ledge, neck bent back, eyes craning to see every detail of these masterful works of art. These “thin places”, as Gregg calls them, are getting to me. My eyes are moist, but I’m not crying, just a little emotional. I do not know why, I wouldn’t consider myself a spiritual person per se. I don’t know where these strong feelings come from, or what they are about, but maybe that’s not important. I still cannot understand how it is that these inanimate objects take hold of me, almost control me, by their subtle inflections of meaning. How is it that humans have the capacity to create such an image – using form, perspective, and proportion – to transform us. Art does not  just make me feel; it provides a window – no, a door – between what I know and what I feel, between what I understand and what I don’t. To say that art transforms us is an understatement – it destroys our pride, it tears down what we think we know, subverting what we believe to be truth. The essence of creativity is originality: something is there that was not there before.

Aaron

one great story from an SSU student traveling the world who forgot where she was for a moment and the unthinkable occurred – shannonmay pringle

By | Uncategorized | One Comment

once upon a time a group of university students were let loose in the great Parisian art museum, the louvre; this was after already having spent months studying about art history and traveling throughout Europe to see masterpieces and various works of genius.  so, you would think one would know how to conduct herself in a grand gallery such as the louvre.

there was so much to see that day; great works by Leonardo da Vinci – the Mona Lisa, Saint John the Baptist, Madonna on the rocks – and other famous works including the Venus de Milo, the winged victory, cupid and psyche, and Medusa’s raft.  to see these works first hand was phenomenal and overwhelming at times. to think that one was standing before works of genius that have inspired others for hundreds of years; the hidden messages about God, humanity, their realation to one another and to society,  and all the liberties that humans have fought for and spoken out about pierces the soul to react, provoking change within the viewer…i hope.

one masterpiece in particular that brought excitement to this appreciative student of art was the ‘ship of fools’ by Hieronymus Bosch;  a painting which depicts the folly and foolishness of mankind, leaving no one with mercy – two main characters are a priest and a nun. his message, we assume, is to say that all of humanity in some way or another has spent time in the ship of fools. Bosch’s inspiration for this painting possibly comes from a German poem with the same name. i was most excited to view this painting for i am a fan of Bosch.

after searching around for fifteen minutes for this painting (the gallery map was wrong) i stumbled upon the painting along with my classmates and professor peter.  this was when conduct was thrown out the window and the unthinkable occurred.

i was exhausted; i was excited; i forgot where i was; i was just as shocked as everyone else when it happened…

…as i was examining the painting up close and discussing some of the symbolism with peter, i neglected to notice that i was leaning against the very same wall that the painting hung on. as i motioned towards the painting to ask Pete about the roasted chicken hanging in the tree, bump went my hand and the painting began to swing; it was hung onto a board the suspended from the ceiling. oh thank goodness it did not fall. oh but what is that sound…is that an alarm…?

two guard-women entered the room, speaking in french, checking cupboards to identify where the alarm was originating. i backed away from the painting along with everyone else in the tiny room. suddenly the women returned, shouting in french to evacuate the room immediately for they are shutting down the entire section – someone has attempted to steal a painting.

what have i done, i thought to myself; i should know better for this is not how to conduct oneself in a world famous, world class art gallery.  worried that Pete was upset with me, and that he now thought i was a fool who belonged on Bosch’s ship, i sheepishly apologized; he said not to worry – so what if i bumped and potentially damaged a  $60 million dollar painting, at least i have a great story to tell.

and there you have one great story from an SSU student traveling the world who forgot where she was for a moment and the unthinkable occurred.